Students in the NGP CoLab

Startup Garage Course Details

Startup Garage gives you the opportunity to address a user need through your own new venture. You supply the concept; Stanford GSB provides the “garage” to develop it.

During the course, you will learn to apply design thinking and lean startup methodologies to design, test, and build a venture. In teams of two to five people, you will first get out of the classroom and interact with users to identify and understand an unmet need. Then you will design, prototype, and test a novel product or service to meet that need. Finally, you will develop a viable business model and launch plan for your venture.

Teams will learn skills critical to developing and launching new products, building ventures, and evaluating the viability of early stage ventures. The class is well-suited for teams at various stages in the venture design process, including those who have not yet identified a project and for teams considering for-profit, nonprofit, and social venture ideas. Each team’s appropriate business model will be different — possibly a combination of donation and revenue (like the models of many nonprofit organizations) or possibly purely revenue (like those of business and social ventures).

Some Startup Garage participants have turned their projects into companies and nonprofits after finishing the class. Recent examples that show the breadth of Startup Garage ventures include DoorDash, Bipsync, DogHero, ClearMetal, MindRight, TalkingPoints and Boom Fantasy.

We don’t expect that every team will want to continue its project after graduation. The innovation process we teach, as well as the techniques and skills you will learn, can be applied to problem solving outside of venture creation. Our mission is to teach you the innovation process in the expectation that it will reward you throughout your career.

Startup Garage Courses

S356 | Startup Garage: Design (Fall Quarter)

Teams will identify and work with users, domain experts, and industry participants to identify and understand customer needs and design products/services and business models to address those needs.

Each team will conceive, design, build, and field-test critical aspects of both the product or service and the business model. S356 integrates methods from human-centered design, lean startup, and business model planning.

The course focuses on developing entrepreneurial skills (using short lectures and in-class exercises) and applying those skills to specific problems faced by the users identified by the teams. Teams will get out of the building and interact directly with users and advisors to develop a deep understanding of the challenges they face and to field-test their proposed services/products and business models.

S366 | Startup Garage: Testing & Launch (Winter Quarter)

Teams that conclude the fall quarter with promising products/services and business models continue with S366, the winter quarter course in which they iterate their product or service prototypes and business models and execute experiments to test key hypotheses.

Teams can join winter quarter but will need to fill an application that demonstrates they made progress comparable to that of teams taking the course in the fall quarter. This is a high standard. The acceptance rate is lower for winter application. Additionally, if students wish to switch projects at the end of the fall quarter, they will need to submit a new application.

During the winter quarter, teams engage in a robust venture-creation process that involves development and validation of a series of hypotheses about a new product or service, its value proposition, and how the business will acquire customers and partners, scale, and raise funds to achieve the key milestones to profitability or sustainability.

You will be supported and coached by a team of world-class faculty, including founders and early executives of ZenDesk, Task Rabbit, Baby Center, Shutterfly, Shopkick, eLoan, Netscape, and MSN, as well as seasoned VC and angel investors.

Teaching Team
Stefanos Zenios
Professor, Operations, Information & Technology
David Hornik
Bob Lisbonne
Lecturer, Organizational Behavior
Russell Siegelman
Lecturer, Organizational Behavior
Donald Wood
Lecturer, Accounting
Keegan Cooke
Associate Director, Startup Garage & Entrepreneurial Curriculum